Top trends in the sports industry to watch out for

By Michael Gary, Tue 17 January 2023 15:20

Top trends in the sports industry to watch out for 

The digital revolution has changed everything about the sports industry. The emergence of new formats, the immense scale of the events, growing fandom, and new ways to watch the games–everything about sports is changing at an accelerated pace. There are certain developing trends in this multi-billion dollar industry that will definitely leave a lasting mark. 

One-stop sports OTT platforms 

First on our television screens and now on our computers or smartphones, the way we watch sports has been changing over the past decade or so. With the growing demand from fans to have better access to their favourite games, sports made their way to OTT platforms and social media platforms too.

ExpressVPN’s analysis of Google trends for sports streaming in the UK gives some deep insights into the streaming trends. For example, Liverpool FC has held the top spot for almost five years as the streaming favourite, among Premier League teams. Interestingly, the analysis also reveals that the term 'stream sports' was searched less and less, which could be because streamers now have deals with individual leagues. In fact, organisations such as FIFA and the National Basketball Association have even launched their own OTT platforms. Not only this, an important trend in sports-specific OTT platforms is that these are integrated platforms where fans can not only watch but do other related activities like betting and playing their own fantasy leagues.

Big tech in sports 

Until a few years back, it might have seemed like a far cry that big tech would have anything to do with sports. However, when companies like Amazon came into the picture and signed a Thursday night deal with the National Football League (NFL), things started changing. Although other such big tech firms also tried (unsuccessfully), Apple’s recent long-term partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) can be a turning point in the way we consume sports content. 

TikTok and the way to monetise it

It is evident that short-form content will continue to be the king on social media. Experts predict that TikTok will improve its platform so that it can convert awareness into sales for brands. Thus, we can expect to see a lot of sports branding content on the short-form video platform. It is also likely that a lot of the advertising budget will be redirected towards TikTok. We might even see the platform develop an in-platform marketplace. We will also most likely see a lot more athletes taking over the influencer space. 

One-off sporting events 

Marketing executives are always trying to innovate and come up with new techniques to brand and sell their products. TheStadiumBusiness writes that one-off events are one such marketing technique. These are primarily for those casual fans who don’t really follow a team for an entire season. However, they do like to watch a game once a season, or perhaps the big final of the series. These customised events introduce unaffiliated sports enthusiasts to new experiences. This sort of approach can help in steadily building an engaged audience. 

AI-driven personalisation of content

Watching sports is more than just a source of entertainment for true fans. It is an emotional and sensory experience that gives them what sports is all about: thrill, physicality, and connections with people. Live sports can benefit greatly from AI or artificial intelligence. The connection with people or in-person moments can be delivered digitally to fans around the world using AI. This will be particularly to a generation that spends a lot of time on their phones and social media.

The sports industry will keep evolving as it keeps updating itself in an attempt to keep up with trends. Like any other industry, this one also seeks to be relevant, and it ultimately comes down to the law of demand and supply. It is now left to see which of these trends will stick and which won’t.

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